Governor reminds cabinet of election campaign ban
2012 is an election year, which includes the election of a new governor and lieutenant governor for the territory, and Gov. Togiola Tulafono says he has reminded all heads of government departments, offices and agencies about local regulations that ban any campaigning in offices during business hours, or using government property for campaigns.
Togiola raised this point on his weekend radio program, last Saturday, saying there have been comments and reactions to a recommendation he made to directors and heads of agencies at last Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, prohibiting campaigning within ASG during office hours.
He also raised the issue of ASG employee corruption, during the same radio program, noting that the bad actions taken by ASG employees is due to those outside of government pushing and tempting employees to do the wrong or illegal act.
BAN ON ASG ELECTION CAMPAIGNING
Togiola recalled this is the fourth general election (referring to the gubernatorial races) that he is involved with, going back to 1996 when he was the running mate with then candidate for governor, Tauese P.F. Sunia.
The governor said he and Tauese made this same recommendation — banning any campaigning in offices during business hours, or using government property for campaigns — every gubernatorial race throughout the years — and for heads of agencies to carry out their duties faithfully and truthfully, and not to use their position in government as a way to campaign for a specific candidate.
The reason for emphasizing this message to directors is because of local laws and regulations which prohibit such practices from being carried out during working hours, he said, adding that the duty of a leader is to advise subordinates and others not to carry out any action not in accordance with the law.
The governor says this same advice was given to directors in the 2004 and 2008 gubernatorial races when he sought the post of governor. (Samoa News reported in 2008 where Togiola told directors during cabinet meetings not to use government premises for campaign purposes or force an employee to vote for the director’s candidate of choice.)
Although he is not running for office in 2012, Togiola says that does not mean he, as the current governor, should not continue to emphasize to cabinet members the importance of abiding with the law when it comes to campaigning.
Togiola is barred under local statute from seeking a third consecutive four-year term in office.
He said there is also a federal law dealing with this issue, which must be emphasized during election year to make sure no one forgets that its illegal to use a director’s position and office to carry out any form of campaigning on government premises.
And it's the governor’s duty to remind directors of these laws and regulations, said Togiola, adding he has told directors to to keep this law in mind at all times throughout 2012.
CORRUPTION AND ASG EMPLOYEES
The governor also said that there is a lot of criticism against government employees with allegations of corruption against employees; but, said, the bad actions taken by ASG employees is due to those outside of government pushing and tempting employees to do the wrong or illegal act.
Togiola said he has stated this several times in the past years — in which every time an ASG employee does something illegal, there are at least two to four non-government employees and a business pushing the employee to take an illegal action and make a wrong decision that is not in accordance with the law and regulations.
And in the end, it's always ASG employees who are blamed and criticized and accused of corruption, while the outside perpetrator is walking around without any care in the world, he said.